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Money, Mentors, Trust & Happiness

By David Penglase

This post will give you a peek inside how my mind works in connections and patterns. I’m going to start with a radio interview that prompted me to think about money, which prompted me to think about trusted mentors which prompted me to answer the question ‘does money buy happiness?’

I was interviewed last week on ABC radio by the wonderful Liz Ellis about the Powerball top prize of $70million and to discuss what we know from the scientific research around money and happiness. It prompted me to think about what I’d learned throughout my life about money and happiness, before studying about it academically in my master degree in applied positive psychology.

No Regrets

I don’t dwell on regret, however, if there was one mentor I wish I had have found earlier in my life, it would be a Financial Mentor. I love my dad and my mum and had a wonderful Huckleberry Finn type of upbringing… never having much, but not really wanting for much either. But their philosophy about money was more along the lines of survival rather than growth, and based on their parents experienced living through the Great Depression.

So I had the ‘Poor Dad’, but hadn’t really found my ‘Rich Dad’ – that other mentor who had the experience, skills, and character to teach me about the value of money and how to create a financial plan to help me achieve short, medium and long term financial and lifestyle goals.

That got me thinking about the importance of mentors in our life in general.

One of the best resources I know of to help guide us through times of disruption, distraction and change, is to have a mentor… especially when it comes to finances!

Mentors can play various roles:

  • Mentor as Coach: They can revert to coaching skills when they think you have the answers within you.
  • Mentor as Teacher: They can engage with teaching skills when they think you don’t have the skills, knowledge, attributes or experiences required.
  • Mentor as ‘Unreasonable Friend’: They can be your ‘unreasonable friend’, challenging, questioning, and holding you accountable for your intentions, promises, actions and results when you need the proverbial kick-up-the-pants.
  • Mentor as Counsellor: They can listen and guide using the skills of a counsellor in times of difficulty.
  • Mentor as Connector: They can be the referrer and introducer when they realise you need expert advice beyond their own capacity.

I have a number of mentors in my professional and personal life. Each whom I have carefully selected because of their experience, the results they have achieved and most importantly because of their aspirational strength of character.

Liz and I do now have a very trusted financial mentor, and we are in a solid financial position, because of the advice we’ve received. Without doubt though, our financial position would be even better if we had found our trusted financial mentor earlier in our lives.

What I know from the research by the Financial Planning Association of Australia is that while many people want to seek financial advice, the big concern for most of them is ‘who can they trust?’

Who Can I Trust?

This one question… ‘Who can I trust?’ can create apathy that stops people from starting their financial planning early in their life… which in turn, can limit their potential to align their financial plan with their short, medium and long term lifestyle goals. If that's you, my advice is get it sorted as soon as you can.

I’m not an expert with money, that's why I invest in advice from a financial mentor. In fact, one of the discussions I constantly have with my financial mentor is that money is not a motivator for me. However, lifestyle choices are a motivator for me, and money can buy you more choices – which means the answer to that age old question ‘Can money buy happiness?’ … is YES if you invest well, and more importantly spend it in ways that science validates will enhance your capacity to flourish in life (for example, on shared experiences with others, on products or services that save you time, and on personal and professional development).

So what's the action step? Simple. If you're not an expert in area of your life you'd like to make improvements in, invest in a mentor.



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